Get to know the graduate students in the CRS program at Syracuse University of the 2021-22 academic year!


BaqueroStephanie Baquero

I was born in North Potomac, Maryland and was raised both there and in upstate New York. I earned an Associate’s degree in Communications and Media Arts from SUNY Broome Community College and then transferred to Syracuse University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric. In my free time, I enjoy reading, creative writing, watching tv and movies and traveling.

Academic and Research Interests

Literature, popular culture, feminism, and communication.

Why Syracuse CRS?

I’m interested in communications and after studying writing and rhetoric in undergrad, I wanted to continue in a similar field, so the CRS program seemed like a great fit. Also, after doing my undergrad at SU, I really liked it here and wanted to do grad school here as well.


Macklin Brigham

Macklin Brigham

An Upstate New Yorker through and through, Macklin Brigham was born and raised in Central NY and attended St. Lawrence University in the North Country, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Performance and Communication Arts and minored in Film and Representation Studies. He currently lives in Syracuse and is a second-year in the CRS Master’s program.

Academic and Research Interests

His research interests include film analysis and queer theory, psychoanalysis, issues of face and authenticity, and liminality.

Why Syracuse CRS?

The Communication and Rhetorical Studies program stood out to him for its esteemed faculty, its emphasis on queer work, and its openness to interdisciplinary work.

Conference Presentations

Brigham, Macklin. “Hegemony, Oppression, and… Empowerment?: Dissecting Gendered Portrayals and Their Connotations in ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Boys.'” April 2019. Central States Communication Association Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. Winner of the Samuel Becker Award for the Top Student Paper in Media Studies.

Brigham, Macklin. “…Release ↔ Disgust ↔ Shame ↔ Relief…: Toward an Abject Model of Queer Construction.” November 2021. National Communication Association Conference in Seattle, Washington.


eastonEaston Draut

My name is Easton Draut. My family is from sunny, Southern California, however, we moved from West Coast to East Coast to the sunny North Carolina beaches. I received my Bachelor’s in Communication Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. This is where I developed myself as a debater and scholar. I have always been fond of all things strange and outlandish. My projects outside of academics revolve around hardcore and metal music, as well as sports such as skateboarding and surfing.

Academic and Research Interests

Easton’s academic interests are, but not limited to: Marxist Theory, Baudrillard Studies, Rhetorical Theory, Critical Theory, Popular Culture. Specifics would include: Mass Hysteria, Ideology, Simulation and Representation, and History.

Why Syracuse CRS?

I was unsure what to do after my undergraduate so I spoke to my advisor and multiple faculty in our Communication Studies program. My undergraduate advisor, Dr. Matthew Richards, is an SU-CRS alumni! SU was also very responsive with my questions and arranged a lot of meetings. (kudos to Dr. Hall).


HayAshley Hay

Ashley Hay is a first-year student in the CRS program. From California originally, she graduated from Oregon State University’s Honors college with her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication and a minor in Psychology. She has professional experience in publishing, bookstore event coordination, and writing consulting. And as a creative writer, her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary journals.

Academic and Research Interests

Ashley’s research interests at Syracuse University include feminist, digital, and popular culture rhetorics.

Why Syracuse CRS?

When Ashley was deliberating between graduate programs, Syracuse’s collaborative and supportive community appealed to her — and equally importantly, she looked forward to benefiting from Syracuse professors’ expertise in the subfields she hoped to enter.


Seth

Seth Knievel

Seth Knievel joined CRS after securing his BA in English literature and communication studies at the University of North Texas. In his free time, Seth enjoys LARPing, running, and restoring antique clocks and typewriters.

Academic and Research Interests

His research interests are the everyday life performance of men who have sex with men, specifically how queer communities have adapted to life during COVID-19. Seth’s interest in the intersection of rhetoric, queer studies, and performance studies has also prompted a passion for praxis. For this reason, Seth will be writing and directing two performance studies shows in his time at SU. The first is a queer adaptation of Moby Dick, wherein he investigates the relationship between closure and recovery. The second is a narration of a family celebrating Passover during the HIV/AIDS crisis, which examines the relationship between sexuality and religion.

Why Syracuse CRS?

I chose to come study at Syracuse because the faculty seemed so connected. So many of the journals I was following, the conferences I was submitting to, and the theories I was using felt so connected to the network of scholarship at Syracuse. I knew I had to come learn from the scholars doing what I felt was important and interesting.

Publications

  • Knievel, S. (2022). “Review of the book Plague Years: A Doctor’s Journey Through the AIDS Crisis, by R. A. Slotten.” QED, 9(1).
  • Knievel, S. (2021). “Review of the film Call Me by Your Name, by L. Guadagnino.” QED, 7(3), 233-235.

Creative Research

  • Knievel, S. Writer, Director. “Pass(ed)Over: Spirituality in the time of Plague.” April, 2022. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University.
  • Knievel, S. Writer, Director. “Moby Dick: A Gay Retelling.” November 2021, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University.

Conference Presentations

  • “Pillars of Salt: Looking Back on the Experiences of LGBTQ (non) Believers.” Panelist. Ethnography Division. National Communication Association. Seattle, WA. November 2021.
  • “Casting (at) Hoover: A Brechtian Staging of J. Edgar Hoover’s Sexuality.” Presenter. Southern States Communication Association. April 2021.

Maria Larcomb

Maria

Maria Larcomb is a second-year graduate student in the CRS program. She graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology in 2019. Maria is working as a teaching assistant and has taught both CRS 225 and CRS 325 in past semesters. In her spare time, Maria enjoys creative writing, hiking, videography, sailing, and crocheting.

Academic and Research Interests

Her research interests are in policy and social work, specifically foster care and carceral rhetoric. In her spare time, Maria enjoys creative writing, hiking, videography, sailing, and crocheting.

Why Syracuse CRS?

The opportunity to have a graduate assistantship, which allowed me to pursue my interest in teaching and financially allowed me to go to grad school.


Aranveer Litt

AranveerI am a first-generation college student and the child of Punjabi immigrants and am passionate about my community, cooking, and learning. I participated in intercollegiate debate during my undergraduate years which informed me of a considerable lack of scholarship on Sikh identity. These experiences motivated me to use the existing literature available to create arguments that I was eventually able to incorporate in my intercollegiate debate research. Outside of academia, I enjoy going to wineries and making traditional Punjabi dishes.

Academic and Research Interests

I am studying South Asian racialization at a variety of levels. First, the examination of the nation-state’s role in labeling and defining terrorism to exclude its responsibility in events perceived as terrorism. Second, exploring Sikh diasporic studies through existing scholarship on public memory by expanding the use of artifacts to include key characteristics of Sikh identity, such as the turban.

Why Syracuse CRS?

Given Syracuse’s strong record of research on interdisciplinary scholarship between Critical Cultural Studies and Rhetoric, I believe that I can expand on the existing literature base for Sikh studies by revisiting the research I had conducted during intercollegiate debate. As a graduate from Syracuse University, I am confident that I would obtain the necessary skills and training to become a professor of Communication and assist students, like myself, who may need guidance with navigating academic spaces.

Conference Presentations

“The De-Turbaned Body: A Queer Analysis of Anti-Terrorism Policy,” competitive paper accepted to the Central States Undergraduate Honors Research Conference in Chicago, IL. (2020). (Paper not presented due to COVID-19).

“Khalistan Zindabad: A Non-Violent Approach to Violent Discourse,” competitive paper presented at the Western States Communication Association Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference in Seattle, WA. (2019).

Creative Research

“Affirmation of the Queer Diasporic Theorization of Khalistan,” Cross-Examination National Debate Tournament Qualifying Affirmative Debate Case. (2020).


Harrison Lucas

Lucas Harrison

Harrison is a second-year student in the CRS program. He attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where he completed his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with concentrations in philosophy and religious studies. Having spent several years working in both the healthcare and public educational fields in under-served communities, his driving goal is to find ways to help those who have been systematically forgotten.

Academic and Research Interests

His research interests include the rhetoric of Black liberation, racial construction, Marxism, consciousness, and humor.


KerryKerry L Mess

A native Milwaukeean, Kerry L Mess earned her degree in secondary English education from UW-Milwaukee. She trained English teachers in Sri Lanka with the Peace Corps and then returned to Milwaukee to teach high school English and earn National Board Certification. She loves reading, theatre, yoga, and digging in the earth.

Academic and Research Interests

Rhetoric of Failure in Education.

Why Syracuse CRS?

Her concern over the rhetoric of failure in education with its accompanying deficit mindset led her to Syracuse’s CRS program.


TimTim Michowski

Tim Michowski is a first-year graduate student in the CRS program and assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies. Born and raised in Michigan, he grew up with a love for trains, building things, and history. He completed his bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and the Latin Language and Literature at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor with a minor in Digital Studies. He enjoys building Legos, pointless discussion of Star Wars lore, and playing video games in his free time.

Academic and Research Interests

His academic interests are in memes in how they’re used as community building tools, as a tool for communication, as a symbol of Gen Z, and their role in our modern day politics.

Why Syracuse CRS?

Nearing the end of my undergraduate education, I really felt unsure of what I was going to do after graduation. I had a very vague interest in memes, but memes aren’t quite something you find as a subject to study as an undergraduate, let alone in graduate school.

I had been able to take a few courses involving memes and one of the assigned readings was a book by Professor Whitney Phillips. I decided to google her to see where she teaches and I discovered the CRS program here at Syracuse. Reading through the CRS website, I discovered two other professors, Dr. Lyndsay Gratch and Dr. Sylvia Sierra also had research involving memes, which only furthered my interest in CRS and led me to apply.


Shewit

Shewit Mikael

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I received my BA in Communication Studies and Psychology from the University of Denver. That is where I realized my research interests which includes immigration, public policy, immigrant narratives of health and broader theories such as Critical Race theory. I am particularly interested in how immigration legislation functions as a form of atonement in a nation-state’s image building. Being the child of immigrants it’s important to me to dedicate my work to the stories I heard growing up-the narratives that shaped my community. That passion led me to Syracuse University where I am a second-year graduate student and teaching assistant.   In my free time I enjoy reading, watching films and TV, cooking, and baking.

Academic and Research Interests

My research interests are immigration, public policy, immigrant narratives of health and larger theories such as Critical Race theory.

Conference Presentations:

Mikael, Shewit. “The Hilarity in Campaign Finance: Stephen Colbert’s Super Pac and the Revelatory Nature of Satire” November 18, 2021. National Communication Association. Seattle, Washington


Tom

Tomás O’Rourke Murolo

Born and raised in Lujan City, Argentina, I graduated from Universidad Nacional de Luján with a history degree. Before coming to Syracuse, I had some experience as an international student in Universidad de Zaragoza and Utrecht University.

Academic and Research Interests

My main fields of interests are Performance Studies, Embodiment and Critical Theory, and the object of my inquiries is mostly concerned with historical Structures of Power. Art, visual culture and materiality are essential to me. I am also drawn into Religious Studies, a discipline I find filled with incredibles scholars and ideas. I intend to focus my research on the intersection between politics and bodies, to learn how our experiences that shape our worldviews serve to code hierarchies and enforce oppression.

Why Syracuse CRS?

What I find most appealing about the CRS program is its flexibility. Since my interests reside at the intersection of many disciplines I was looking for a program that allowed me to develop an interdisciplinary approach. In this sense, the diversity and quality of the faculty, and the chance to choose what courses to take, are great assets.

Journal Articles:

  • 2021 “Splendor and poverty: The colonial festivity as a material-symbolic nexus (Buenos Aires 1665-67)”. ISSN 2362-2997. Cuadernos del Sur Historia, N° 50, Oct 2021, Department of Humanities, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina
  • 2020 “La función de la escuela como proveedora de recursos humanos en el marco de una economía de mercado. Análisis de becas universitarias para estudiantes de secundaria” ISSN 2314-0488 (Print) ISSN 2314-0496 (Digital) Polifonías, Revista de Educación. N° 17, December 2020. Department of Education, Universidad Nacional de Luján, Argentina.
  • 2019 “Coherent, Ubiquitous and Powerful. The role of aesthetics practices in the consolidation of Rosas’ Regime”. ISSN-e 2591-3190 Revista de Historia, N° 20, Dic. 2019, Department of humanities, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina.
  • 2017 “Religion and State during Rosas’ government: characteristics of a secularist regime”. ISSN-e 2591-3190 Revista de Historia, N° 18, Nov. 2017, Department of Humanities, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina.

Conferences Presentations:

  • 2020 “National Festivity of Agriculture: Material and performative composition of rurality in Argentina”. I Seminario Internacional de Fiesta y Agricultura. Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile.
  • 2018 “Memorias de industria. Una historia oral sobre Burco (1953-1990)”. VIII Jornadas de la división Historia. Universidad Nacional de Luján, Luján, Argentina.

Yiqing RanYiqing Ran

Yiqing was born and raised in the Southwest part of China and came to the US to get a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado Denver, majoring in Communication, and minoring in International Studies, and Women and Gender studies.

Academic and Research Interests

Her research interests are varied, including intercultural communication, international studies,  postcolonialism and decolonial studies, cultural studies, and women and gender studies.

Yiqing’s thesis will be a  rhetorical analysis of the China governmental response to the COVID-19, and trying to explore how China is using this as a decolonization practice, to resist Western values.

Why Syracuse CRS?

She chose the CRS program because it can provide a very unique experience both in studying and teaching.


Jake Sather

Jack G. Sather

A lifelong Hoosier, Jack G. Sather graduated from Ball State University with a degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric & Composition in 2020. His interests within the field of Rhetoric lie primarily in politics, including but not limited to Anarchism and American Conservatism. His graduate thesis will examine William F. Buckley Jr. ‘s 1965 quasi-quixotic campaign for the New York City mayorship and its role in revitalizing the Conservative Movement’s momentum after Senator Barry Goldwater’s defeat in the Presidential election of 1964.


WellerRayana Weller

Rayana grew up on Vashon Island, Washington and spent her youth playing sports, dancing ballet, and riding ferry boats. She received her BA from Whitman College in 2020. There, she majored in Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse and spent most of her time in rhetoric and creative writing classes. Her undergraduate thesis, titled “Are You Crazy and Rich Enough to be Asian?,” critiqued the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ through the lenses of Orientalism and Yellow Fever, and the politics of desirability.

Academic and Research Interests

Her research interests include Asian American and mixed-race identity, rhetorics of compassion such as forgiveness and empathy, and the politics of incarceration. She loves teaching and working in education, wherever that may lead her.

Why Syracuse CRS?

CRS provides the space for her to explore her interest in teaching as a TA, as well as the freedom to pursue her studies through a flexible and foundational program.

Publications:

Weller, R. (2020) “Are You Crazy and Rich Enough to be Asian?: Analyzing the Representation Asians and The Asian Landscape in ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’” Whitman College Arminda Collection.


Lauren Wiener

Lauren Wiener

I am a lifelong Long Islander who has now been at Syracuse University for over 5 years! I completed my Undergraduate dual major here in both English & Textual Studies and Sociology. My freshman year, I was also one of the co-founders (former president and current treasurer) of Esports @ Syracuse University, a massive gaming organization with over 1100 casual members and around 12 highly competitive teams battling in intercollegiate tournaments. Additionally, I am a programming assistant for the Esports Center @ The Barnes Center at The Arch. My additional interests include 3d printing, figurine painting, interactive experiences / escape rooms, travel, and thriller manga.

Academic and Research Interests

My main interest is in Virtual Reality, focusing on the pseudo-live physicality of the Avatar, what we consider to be the Self, and the benefits & politics of ‘ bodily’ self-selection & personal representation. Additionally, I am interested in further researching inequalities regarding the participation and incorporation of female representation in Esports.

Why Syracuse CRS?

When I was an undergraduate at SU, I got to experience all of what Syracuse University had to offer. I adored the variety of experiences that the greater Syracuse area had to offer, and the truly unique community that rests in Syracuse University. There is always somewhere to go and something to try, there is always going to be someone on this campus who likes the same stuff as you do, and there is always going to be a program or professor who can help you get to where you want to go. CRS for me is the culmination of those ideas. It allows me to study what I want with full support and gives me an exceptionally friendly community to do so in.


Hanyuan ZhangHanyuan Zhang

Hanyuan is a second-year Master’s student in Communication and Rhetorical Studies. He is from China and received his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at The State University of New Jersey in 2020. His research interests include gender studies and Chinese rhetoric studies.

In daily life, he enjoys movies, models, and traveling.

Academic and Research Interests

His research interests are Chinese Rhetoric, Gender Rhetoric, Study of Chinese Gender Discourse.